Ok .. so where was I? The mine site feeding 2700 workers (the construction crew that is adding a huge addition to this mine). We have been feeding these guys several times already this year and pretty much have a good system going. We also always come back for the night shift and feed another 500 to 700 crew.
Back to the line-up of guys waiting to be fed, turns out these are the mine workers now and everybody knew that they were invited to join the construction crews lunch. Everyone knew except us and the girl that hired us, someone forgot to inform her! No small detail .. for sure.
We happen to have the food for the night shift on site and that is what saves us from a total disaster (I define disaster as running out of food items.. total disaster is people going away with nothing to eat!!!)
I am asking for more potatoes salad and getting an ominous feeling when they say there is no more .. look again I snap back at them! But it is not to be, staff keeps coming for more potatoes salad and I tell them to please remove the potatoes salad bowl and move the other two salads closer.
The line-up is now at a standstill because the barbeques got slammed with not enough product ahead. I hear whispers from staff that the farmer sausage is getting low. just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse.. are you kidding me??? Well it does get worse.. the coleslaw runs out!
I double curse my bad luck to be here when something like this happens. We are well known for never running out of food.. EVER.. omg! I cross my fingers and send up a silent prayer (like THAT is going to help) that we don’t run out of farmer sausage. If this happens I will want to die, but before I do I will find the person responsible for the numbers and take them with me!!
The end of the line comes.. I have forgotten about my whining and how I am hurting during this rush and we even have 20 farmer sausages left. So here we are, everyone got fed .. last ones didn’t get a couple salads but they did get one.. and a drink and cupcakes , so no one went hungry.
Whew.. that was one big save on our part and maybe seemed like magic to the planner who didn’t realize all these extra people were invited. BUT the real magic was just beginning to take shape. The mine site is an hour away, our main supplier of salads (through Sysco) is in another city. We have no chance in hell of getting enough salads for what turns out to be another eight hundred and eighty crew (when the dust all settles).
My son (who owns the business.. we are just a small family business, only four fulltime employees) kicks it into high gear. Vans are picking up buns from stores (cleaning out the shelves). Wholesale club and Costco are getting a run for pop.. water.. and pasta and coleslaw.
Kitchen goes into high heart and starts cooking pasta. Another crew starts chopping onions (we always do fried onions ) someone else digs out all the farmer sausage we have in freezers from concession jobs. Another runs to our butcher to get even more sausage (thank god he keeps it in stock in large quantities).
Now this is where the magic happens.. we have four hours to pull off making enough food for 880 construction crew guys on the night shift.. and we make it happen! They get our homemade pasta rotini salad our very own signature coleslaw and cold brown beans as well as the farmer sausage and drinks and dessert.
When I left the kitchen barely able to walk.. six girls were cutting up assorted sheet cake squares we always keep on hand. I send up a silent prayer of thanks that I don’t have to do the night shift one. I get home to my condo and fall into bed hurting like hell .. it is three in the afternoon and I sleep the sleep of the dead!
This is a tough job and I had forgotten how hard and gut-wrenching it is (if you are an owner) and even if you aren’t. We take this seriously and our reputation is at stake each and every event. I think caterers are amazing and we DO NOT get the recognition that we so deserve for some of the spectacular saves we make!
It is nothing short of MAGIC and lot’s and lot’s of hard-assed work and ingenuity and downhome smarts to pull off what we just did. THE END
The event next day they put me on salad duty again after doing up 780 cheesecakes with strawberries (so ok I did 160 and wandered away when one of the young ones come over to ask if we needed any help!.. to find something easier and maybe hide out a bit) .
I picked the pea salad (easy enough), so easy in fact that I got to help with the Caesar salad and the Chinese cabbage salad! That Walmart greeting job is looking better all the time!
A passing thunder storm almost had me passing out the BBQ steaks indoors (big smile on my face here) but it passed and I was back on salad duty. Guests always get their steaks from right off the grill at our catered events (same with the burgers and sausage).
Everyone is fed and I sigh a big sigh of relief only to be snapped back to reality that we need to clear and scrap 780 plates.. do you even know how many crates that is? I do, and only because I was hurting so bad I looked over to see how many crates were left and I counted them! That is when I wanted to sit down and cry because there were 18 crates left.. we were only half way through…geeze ..where is the magic now?
Epilogue : although it is gratifying this business is not for the feint of heart. work and we are called upon to do many things. I did a lot of whining here but it is only because I am getting older and I really think this business is for the young. Good thing I have call display on my phone.. just sayin…